Varicose veins or varicosities is a condition that generally affects the lower legs, ankle, and feet. Varicose veins are characterised by swollen and twisted veins that appear as purple or blue bulges. Varicose veins can occur anywhere in the body, though they predominantly occur in the lower legs since veins experience higher pressure when standing or walking. Varicose veins are generally mild. However, certain individuals can experience severe discomfort. Varicose veins can be treated at home or managed through surgical or therapeutic interventions.
Varicose Veins Causes
The varicose vein is caused due to weakened or damaged valves in the veins due to high blood pressure. As these veins get weakened or damaged, blood starts pooling in the veins, causing them to enlarge. Veins can become weak due to several reasons, including the following -
- Ageing process
- Tight and restrictive clothes.
- Standing or walking for extended periods.
Signs or symptoms
The most apparent sign of a varicose vein is a twisted, blue, or purple colour vein under the skin. Some varicose veins symptoms of varicose vein include-
Swollen, twisted veins that generally appear blue or purple under the skin in the legs, ankle, or feet. They can appear in bunches. Small red or blue lines called spider veins may also be visible.
You may experience itching in the surrounding regions of the varicose vein.
Heavy and Painful Legs
Muscles in the legs would be tired and sluggish. Sometimes you may experience muscle cramps
Swelling or throbbing of legs, ankles, and feet.
Skin Discolouration and Ulcers
Varicose veins left untreated may cause brown discolourations on the skin. Severe varicose veins can also cause ulceration on the skin.
Varicose Veins Treatment
Treatment measures for varicose veins include self-care strategy, compression stockings, and surgical procedures. Your health care provider would decide the best course of treatment based on your age, medical history, signs, symptoms, severity of conditions, etc.
Regular Exercise, raising the legs while lying down and during sleep can alleviate pain and can prevent worsening of the condition.
Compression stockings can squeeze the legs, aiding the muscles and veins to move blood more easily.
Surgery or other Procedures
If the varicose veins are severe and unable to be managed through compression stockings or self-care measures, your healthcare provider may suggest surgery or other procedures. These include sclerotherapy, laser treatment, ambulatory phlebectomy, vein stripping, etc.
Following are some factors that can increase the risk of developing varicose veins-
- Gender: Females are at a higher risk of developing varicose veins when compared to males. Pregnant people, people on birth control pills, or individuals approaching menopause are more prone than others because of the hormones released during these conditions.
- Age: With age, valves become less efficient. Veins generally become stiffened and lose elasticity.
- Family history: Varicose veins are inheritable.
- Lifestyle: Standing and sitting continuously for a long time restricts blood flow. Wearing restrictive clothes like girdles lowers blood circulation.
- Existing health conditions: Certain health ailments like severe constipation or tumours increase pressure in the veins.
- Overweight or Obesity: Weight influences blood pressure and can increase pressure in the blood vessels.
- Tobacco: Individuals who consume tobacco are more prone to develop varicose veins.
In addition to medical history examination and physical assessment, healthcare providers also use diagnostic tests like ultrasound or venogram to assess the condition's severity. These tests assess the blood flow through the veins and examine the presence of blood clots.
Some measures that can be undertaken to reduce the chance of developing varicose veins include-
- Avoid standing for long periods: Stretch or walk around regularly to improve blood circulation.
- Elevate legs: Elevating feet above the waist helps blood flow back to the heart.
- Quit tobacco: Tobacco usage leads to many health complications, including damage to blood vessels.
- Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce blood pressure.
- Exercise regularly and avoid long periods of inactivity.
- Wear clothes that are not too tight to ensure proper blood circulation.
Varicose veins can reoccur after treatment. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding a sedentary life are a few ways to reduce the risk of a second occurrence.
- The development of varicose veins is influenced by lifestyle and activity.
- It is observed worldwide, and the women population is more prone to developing the condition than men.
Varicose veins are pretty common, and they are not dangerous. Varicose veins generally do not lead to long-term health complications and can be managed through self-care measures and other interventions.
If untreated, varicose veins can lead to skin discolouration, ulcers, blood clots, and inflammation.
Varicose veins is a disorder caused due to weakened or damaged valves in the veins. Arteries and veins are blood vessels that aid in transporting blood. While the arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body, veins transport blood vice-versa. The veins in the leg work against gravity to return blood to the heart. Muscle contractions and valves in the veins aid in this process. Valves open when blood flows to the heart and then close to prevent backflow. If the valves are damaged, there is backward flow, and blood pools in the vein, leading to enlarged and twisted veins. Many factors like age, gender, and blood pressure, among others, increase the risk of varicose veins.
Complications of varicose veins include ulcers, bleeding, and blood
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